Waterdhavian Festivals

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[edit] Demihuman Festivals

[edit] Daily

  • Sunrise Service: Lathander. Welcoming rites to Lathander as the day begins.
  • Twilight Service: Lathander. Solemn rites asking Lathander to watch over his faithful as the night comes.
  • The Lady's Appeasement: Leira. A daily opportunity to offer sacrifices to Leira, praying that she avert her caprices, and bless those who engage in deceit or who attempt to see through deceit.
  • Sunset Prayers: Mask. Rites in which worshipers kneel before altar to Mask. Worshipers offer coins to low-ranking clergy, low-ranking clergy offer them to high-ranking clergy, and the high priest offers a single coin to the most destitute of worshipers present.
  • The Dusking: Myrkul. A rite to remind mortals how closely death walks, involving a floating skull onto which were sprinkled pinches of cremains and grave dirt, with each sacrifice marked by the tolling of a funereal bell.
  • The Binding: Oghma. One of the "Cornerstones of the Day," the Binding is a morning service in which the symbols of Oghma are written in the dirt, in ashes upon the altar, or on any other medium, which prayers are intoned.
  • The Covenant: Oghma. The second "Cornerstone of the Day" of the Oghman faith, this is an evening service in which passages of some work of wisdom are read aloud or recited from memory, a song or poem is offered up to Oghma, and then some item of knowledge that clergy or laity have learned that day is offered up aloud for the benefit of all present.
  • Nightfall: Shar. A nightly ritual as the sun sets, involving an invocation, a dance, a charge or series of inspiring instructions, and a revel. Lay worshipers are expected to attend at least one Nightfall rite per tenday. On moonless nights, this rite is called the Coming of the Lady, and every congregation must carry out some significant act of vengeance or wickedness in the Dark Lady's name.
  • Song of the Sword: Tempus. A rousing holy battle chant performed just after dark in temples, invoking Tempus' strength of arms through the night and unto the following day.
  • The Awakening: Tyr. Dawn invocation, followed by prayers, a short sermon or reading of wisdom, and closing anthem that is a gentle uplifting renewal of faith.
  • The Hammer at Highsun: Tyr. Highsun invocation, followed by prayers, a short sermon or reading of wisdom, and closing anthem that is a stirring, exultant expression of the church's vigilance and martial might.
  • High Justice: Tyr. Evening invocation, followed by prayers, a short sermon or reading of wisdom, and closing anthem that is a a stern, proud celebration of Tyr's commandments and the temple's purpose.
  • The Remembrance of the Just Fallen: Tyr. Night invocation, followed by prayers, a short sermon or reading of wisdom, and closing anthem that is a haunting, softly changed reverence for those who have laid down their lives for justice, both inside and outside the faith.

[edit] Tendaily

  • Feast of Love: Sune. Intimate gatherings of the faithful in which they recline on cushions and couches, eating bitelets and sipping liquers, while enjoying solitary dancers interspersed with readers of poetry and romantic prose. Such gatherings always break up into more private groups afterwards.

[edit] Monthly

  • Seeing Justice (1st Day of Month): Tyr. Chanted prayers and thunderous hymns under the image of a gigantic warhammer that glows white.
  • The Maiming (13th Day of Month): Tyr. Chanted prayers and thunderous hymns under the image of a hand surrounded by a nimbus of burning blood, and then tumbles away into darkness.
  • The Blinding (22nd Day of Month): Tyr. Chanted prayers and thunderous hymns under the image of two eyes that burst into fountains of flaming tears until they have entirely spilled away. Afterwards, symbolic blindfolds of diaphanous damask are bound over the eyes of worshippers to remind them of Tyr's blindness.

[edit] The New Moon

  • The Foreshadowing (New Moon): Ibraundul. On cloud-covered nights of the new moon, worshippers of the dark Ibrandul emerge from their subterranean lairs to perform a rite which begins at midnight and promises to fulfill Ibrandul's promise to eventually envelop the Lands Above in utter darkness.
  • New Moon Revel: Selune. Open-air dances and prayers under the moonlight with sacrifices of wine poured out upon the altar.

[edit] The Full Moon

  • Full Moon Revel: Selune. Open-air dances and prayers under the moonlight with sacrifices of milk poured out upon the altar.
  • Grand Revel (Full Moon): Sune. A dusk-to-dawn party in which outsiders are invited, dancing and minstrelsry dominate and those of the faith seek converts with fun and an exhibition of the temple's beautiful or art objects.

[edit] Other

  • Divine Pageantry (Summer): Siamorphe. Holy day in the Sea Ward and North Ward of Waterdeep where the nobles take over Heroes' Walk and Heroes' Garden, and the road from Skulls Street and all along the Street of Glances to the Street of the Singing Dolphin. They hold a fashionable revel where the nobility bedeck themselves in old-fashioned but outrageous costumes and parade about, scattering copper and silver coins to commoners, addressing one another with full titles and speaking in a highly stylized, stilted speech supposed to mimic an old nobles dialect dead for centuries. The most outrageous of them are elected as Pageant King and Pageant Queen at the grand end-of-day party thrown by the previous year's King and Queen.
  • Daernuth (Every 12 days): Talona. Public festivals held every twelve days, open to nondevotees where visitors are encouraged to pray and giver offerings to Talona to spare themselves or loved ones from death, disease, and the like. The clergy with the ability to do so make a point of healing lepers and other victims of disfiguring diseases. Minor priests sell poisons (for eliminating vermin, of course), antidotes, and medicines, while senior clergy diagnose conditions and prescribe treatments for still fees.
  • Stormcall (Before a Storm, When a Storm is Desired): Umberlee. Mass prayer in which worshippers call for Umberlee to send a storm to devastate a specific harbor or ship, or to turn away an approaching storm or one that has already broken on the worshipers. Clergy use the thaumaturgy cantrip to levitate candles, and must do so carefully, for a doused candle is an omen of Umberlee's wrath.

[edit] Month of Hammer

  • Cold Counting Comfort (Hammer 15th): Waukeen. A sacred time to tend to accounting and inventory duties.
  • The Waterdhavian Social Season in Winter: Society The fierce Northern winters essentially shut the city down. As of the first blizzard, snow usually lies thick on the ground, and cruelly cold winds rush in off the ocean to lock the city down. Most nobles flee the city entirely during the winter, preferring to lock down their opulent villas in favor of country properties that are much cozier, or even for holdings in warmer, more southerly lands (most families of Tethyrian blood maintain houses in Amn, Tethyr and Calimshan, as well). As a result, while the Guild of Street Laborers works diligently to keep most of the streets of the city snow-free, the Sea and North Wards are basically left to snow-over (with the exception of the High Road and major roads).

[edit] Midwinter (Festival)

Midwinter is known officially as the High Festival of Winter. It is a feast where, traditionally, the lords of the land plan the year ahead, make and renew alliances, and send gifts of goodwill. To the commonfolk, this is Deadwinter Day, the midpoint of the worst of the cold.

  • The Longest Dance: Auril. The holiest night of the year to Aurilites, it is spent with a festival of ice-dancing the whole night through. It is a raucous and enjoyable festival, in which the faithful are supposed to enjoy themselves, and invite others to join them for the fun (and possible proselytizing).
  • Midwinter Gathering: Grumbar. The church holds a festival celebrating the completion of another year in the eternal church of Grumbar. During this festival, church leaders and elders gather to plan the faith's activities during the upcoming year. These plans, once set, are never varied from during the year and can only be changed at the next Midwinter Gathering.
  • Deliverance Unto Darkness: Ibrandul. Held on Midwinter's Eve, this ritual typically involves the sacrifice of a monstrous spider or some other creature or being intimately associated with Lolth. It culminates in the casting of strange spells that allow them to wander through the Underdark without light.
  • The Retreat: The Red Knight. Gathering of clergy and faithful to assemble in solemn ceremony to examine the previous year's campaigns. Strategies are discussed, battles analyzed, and the accumulated lore is integrated into the temple's teachings.

[edit] Month of Alturiak

  • Great Weave (Alturiak 20th): Waukeen. A celebration of cloth-making and weaving, with cloth woven during this month believed to be truly blessed. The Most Excellent Order of Weavers & Dyers and the Order of Master Taylors, Glovers & Mercers consider this a very important festival.

[edit] Month of Ches

  • The First Tide (When Ice in Harbor breaks): Umberlee. Flute-and-drum parade through the streets by the clergy and faithful, celebrating the breaking of the ice. An animal sacrifice is taken down to the harbor, tied to a large stone and thrown into the water. If it washes back ashore, it is rescued and nurtured back to health, and tended as a sacred animal.
  • The Shattering (When Ice in Harbor Breaks): Valkur. Festival celebrating the shattering of the ice in harbor, commemorated by launching and naming one new ship, which sails around the harbor crewed by Valkuran clergy. Also features the unfurling of new sails that are blessed by the clergy.
  • Song of Dawn (Ches 19th; Spring Equinox): Lathander. Praise-song that blends purely vocal harmonies and counter-harmonies of incredible complexity. Can be heard for blocks around echoing through the Spires of Morning.
  • First Feast (Ches 19th; Spring Equinox): Mielikki. Holy rituals and revels where the faithful of Mielikki are expected to enjoy the sensual pleasures of life and sing praises to the Lady in the forest.
  • The Rite of Pain & Purity (Ches 19th; Spring Equinox): Loviatar. Rite in which clergy chant and dance on barbed wire, thorns, or broken glass, with senior clergy urging them on with whips and lay worshippers chanting and drumming. This sometimes causes a red mistlike radiance to rise from the dancing floor, and for the dancing clergy to receive messages from the Painmaiden.
  • Fleetswake (Ches 21st - 30th): Civic. Spanning the last tenday in Ches, Fleetswake is a mariners' festival celebrating the sea, the sea trades that are their livelihood, and the gods of the sea. While much of the religious seriousness and ceremony is placed on the Fair Seas Festival (see above), many of the Fleetswake events and activities are dedicated in small ways to nearly every sea god or goddess of the Realms. The bulk of the festival activity occurs in Dock Ward, though the Fiery Flagon in Sea Ward is a hotbed of action during this holiday as well. Among the many events of the Fleetswake festival are boat races (both private boats and the rakers of the city naval guard), the annual Shipwrights' Ball at the Shipwrights' House, guild-sponsored galas at the Copper Cup festhall, and many more. Any ships entering the harbor during Fleetswake are not charged the standard docking fees for their stay but the ships' captains are expected to donate at least 1 gold piece per day to Umberlee's Cache before they leave Waterdeep's harbor.
    • Society: Generally speaking, the Spring Social Season begins with Fleetswake, when winter has let up enough to allow ships to return to the Waterdhavian harbor. Many noble families return during this week, taking rooms in inns while their servants prepare their estates for reinhabiting. By the time of the Highcoin, the nobles have mostly all returned.
  • Fair Seas Festival (Ches 29th - 30th): Civic, Umberlee. This festival spans two days in late Ches, and closes the annual Fleetswake festivities.
    • The first day involves much feasting in all corners of the city, but the menus are limited primarily to seafood; in lower Castle Ward, a number of temporary structures are built over the waters off Smugglers’ Dock, allowing a number of individuals (notably Mirt and Piergeiron and city guard officers) and nobles involved in the sea trades to host a feast shared with the mermen and sea elves of Waterdeep's harbor. The docks and Deepwater Isle are heavily staffed by clergy from all the temples of the city' as well as the heads and members of sea-related guilds' throughout the second day, everyone spending the time in prayer and feasting. At both dawn and sunset, the waters of Waterdeep's harbor are covered with floating flowers in homage to Umberlee, the chaotic ocean goddess.
    • During the course of the festival's two days, parties of city guardsmen and chosen members of the Guild of Watermen and the Master Mariners' Guild tour the city, taking donations from tavern patrons for Umberlee's Cache (there are also collection boxes at the two guildhalls), a sacrifice of coins from the citizens of the city to Umberlee in thanks for safe ports and safe passage in the coming year. Upon sunset of the second day, the money is placed in chests and dumped into the deepest part of the harbor. This festival has existed in a number of forms since the first trade-meets occurred here, and over 2,500,000 gold pieces have been dumped into the harbor and remain relatively inviolate; the area is closely guarded by the undersea guardsmen, whose standing orders are to kill anyone disturbing Umberlee's Cache. There are also rumors of magical protections on the chests which keep them safe. Legends tell of thieves that stole some of the collection years ago and left the city; as soon as their ship left the harbor, a squall sprang up and a huge wave shaped like a hand swept over the ship, taking the thieves overboard and sparing the ship and the rest of the crew.
    • Society: The returning nobles make their presence known to their fellows with elaborate Fair Seas Feasts. Those Houses that retain a strong presence in the city have the upper hand in these plans, for they're in place to arrange their feasts and send out invitations to those nobles who are just now getting back into the city. The nobles also make a point of preparing to contribute to Umberlee's Cache in extravagant ways during these parties, which are the favorite scene for the cache collectors to take up offerings from the noble Houses.
  • Highcoin (Ches 30th): Waukeen. A grand feast with spoken accolades, accompanied by trumpet fanfares, hailing the wealthy for amassing such worth. Offerings are amassed for the next festival, Spheres.
    • Society: While the rest of the city is focused on the Fair Seas Festival, the nobility take the Waukeenar festival of Highcoin very seriously. Lord Piergeiron's Highcoin Ball is an absolute necessity for those intending to be on the scene this season - if you miss it, you're an afterthought at best for the rest of the year. The coin that is traditionally gathered on this day is gathered at the door of the ball. This ball is usually accompanied by accolades on what the nobles contribute to Waterdeep's prosperity by the Open Lord, myriad Guildsmasters and other personages of importance. This event begins at sundown, and most of the nobles make sure to be at the sinking of Umberlee's Cache as the true beginning of this festival, lining the shoreline in their finest garb, and then promenading to the Palace afterward.

[edit] Month of Tarsakh

  • Firstflow (when the local ice breaks): Eldath. A small ritual of thanks and welcome to the goddess is held on the day that the ice breaks in rivers and harbors in local communities.
  • The Queen's Gambit (Tarsakh 1st): The Red Knight. Clergy and faithful of the Red Knight unwind with a day of competitive games and feasting. Games of strategy are played all day in grand tournaments, with winners receiving recognition, titles of merit, promotions, and sometimes a precious gift from the temple armory.
  • Waukeentide (Tarsakh 1st - 10th): Civic, Waukeen, Society. This centuries-old tenday festival in early Tarsakh maintains its old title by force of habit. Originally a simple day-long celebration of the free trade and open commerce of the city, it has encompassed a number of older holidays under one title and stretched the holiday season over ten days. The nobles of Waterdeep take the merchants' festival very seriously. This entire week is filled with parties of all sorts; Waterdeep's nobility see it as a sort of "leaping into the deep end" to get back to the social whirlwind of the city.
    • All Coins Day (Tarsakh 1st): The first night of the festival, usually only really celebrated by merchants and those direct worshippers of Waukeen, by holding massive sales in their shops and donating all of those coins in Waukeen's name to charities and to promising journeymen looking to start their own businesses.
    • Caravance (Tarsakh 2nd): a gift-giving holiday commemorating the traditional arrival of the first caravans of the season into the city, and many parents still hide gifts in their homes, telling their children that Old Carvas left them (Old Carvas is the mythical old peddler who arrived with the first caravan into Waterdeep, his wagon loaded down with toys for all the children in Waterdeep).
      • Society: Nobles turn out en masse on this festival day to shop at the newly-opened Market.
    • Goldenight (Tarsakh 5th): a simple festival night celebrating money and gold (many hard currency girls and not a few young noblewomen cover themselves in gold dust and little else on Goldenight), with many businesses operating all night, offering midnight sales and other promotions;
    • Guildsmeet (Tarsakh 7th): special guild member holiday gatherings of the guild memberships for celebrations typically culminating in a multiguild sponsored gala festival and dance that lasts from dusk till dawn and dominates the Market, the Cynosure, the Field of Triumph, and all areas in between.
    • Leiruin (Tarsakh 8th): Waukeen caught Leira, the former goddess of deception, attempting to cheat her in a deal, and buried her under a mountain of molten gold as punishment for cheating an honest merchant; as a commemoration of this, Leiruin is the day for guild members to pay their annual dues to the guilds, for the guildmasters to all meet with the Lord’s Court and renew the guild charters for another year, and for the Lords to bring to light any wrongdoing done in commerce; those charged with theft, robbery, or other commercial crimes on this day are pilloried in front of the Palace and guild members throw coppers at them as part of their punishment (the money goes to the city).
    • Spheres (Tarsakh 10th): Glass spheres are filled with gems and gold to be paraded around the city. They are then loaded into catapult-like contraptions to be lobbed into the air to shatter and spill their contents over the city for the general populace.
      • Society: The final day of Waukeentide is celebrated with grand parties.
        • The day begins with a gathering at Piergeiron's Palace, where the nobles gather to watch the glass orbs full of coin gathered at the Highcoin Ball be launched into the air after being enchanted to cause the glass to wholly render down into a harmless glittering dust upon impact.
        • After this spectacle and a shared warm drink courtesy of their host, the nobles break away to wander off to their myriad parties. It is considered to be something of a game among them to try and poach guests away from one anothers' parties at this point - you never know who actually is going to show to your Waukeentide party.
        • The parties themselves are always grand spectacles, the hosts attempting to make them enthralling enough so that guests don't go awandering for fear of missing something, while the guests frequently travel between the parties, afraid to miss out on any one of them. As a result, the streets of North and Sea Wards are filled with small clutches of traveling party-goers in their festival finery.
  • The Vernal Trousseau Festival (Tarsakh 23rd - 27th): Society. A festival dedicated to a series of parties that focus on the newest fashions for spring and summer, and all culminate in exhibitions of the garment work of the finest artists of the Most Excellent Order of Weavers & Dyers, the Order of Master Tailors, Glovers & Mercers, and the Solemn Order of Recognized Furriers & Woolmen.
    • These shows are organized by noble patrons to highlight the work of one given tailors or group thereof, to both show off the nobles' good taste and to possibly garner additional regard for that artist's work.

[edit] Greengrass (Festival)

Greengrass is the official beginning of spring, a day of relaxation. Flowers that have been carefully grown in inner rooms of the keeps and temples during the winter are blessed and cast out upon the snow, to bring rich growth in the season ahead.

  • Society: Wreaths of fresh flowers - some wider across than a man is tall - adorn the front gates of noble villas at Greengrass. Though a few do enjoy pilgrimages to celebrate the holiday in the hedonistic revel known as the Lady's Revels at the nearby Chauntean abbey of the Goldenfields, the nobles of Waterdeep tend not to do too much on this day.
  • The Greengrass Tastings: Society. The main exception to this rule is with those families who deal in wine. These families (the Amcathras, Ammakyls, Melshimbers, Rosznars and Thanns) often hold open-barrel tasting parties, where the coming year's vintages are tasted to see how they're coming along before being bottled and sold. These parties are as much about business as they are about pleasure, with the families inviting various masters of the Vintners', Distillers', & Brewers' Guild, and various prestigious tavern- and inn-owners in attendance as well.
  • The Lady's Revels: Chauntea. Celebrated as a festival of fertility, where uninhibited behavior and consumption of food and drink is encouraged. Most such celebrations take place in fields outside the city proper, though many of the faithful travel to the major Chauntean abbey of the Goldenfields.
  • The Greening: Eldath. A time of gathering for the clergy of Eldath, the Greening often features a progression through a community, stopping to bless local wells, springs, rivers and other sources of water for a community.
  • The Wild Ride: Mielikki & Lurue. The Lady causes herds of unicorns to gather in forests and permit the faithful to ride them bareback on wild tears through the forest through the night. The unicorns are empowered to use their teleport powers at unlimited use and triple range, allowing them to travel great distances.
  • The Call to the Flowers: Milil. A song sung by the faithful, who gather in solemn procession, singing the song that returns "nature's music" (a metaphor for flowers) to the world.
  • Sunite Revels: Sune. Sunites celebrate Greengrass with frolicking in the outdoors.

[edit] Month of Mirtul

  • The Presentation Ball (Mirtul 4th): Society. The next big event after Greengrass is the Presentation Ball, an extremely formal event hosted by Lord Piergeiron. The height of the event is the Presentation, when young noble men and women - only now old enough this year to be considered "accepted" into society - step up one by one to be introduced to Lord Piergeiron and two of the Masked Lords. Once that has been done, those nobles are considered "fair game" for politicking, courting and are in all other ways treated as adult members of their Houses.
    • The rest of the event consists of dancing, particularly with the newly-Presented guests; more than one less-jaded noble has commented that the flurry that surrounds the newly-Presented was uncomfortably reminiscent of the drooling excitement a pack of hounds finds in the introduction of fresh meat to their kennels.
  • Sammardach (Mirtul 12th): Waukeen. A festival celebrating a rich benefactor of the early church of Waukeen.
  • Guildsmeet Ball (Mirtul 12th): Society. Coinciding with the Waukeenar holiday of Sammardach, this ball is thrown as a joint function by those guilds in the city who deal most with the nobles. It is an opportunity - wholly at the expense of the guilds, of course - for the nobility to meet and mingle with important guildsmen that they might not otherwise encounter, and for the guilds to make introductions to up-and-coming guildsmen and young nobles who'll be taking over their family fortunes in a handful of years. Though plenty of business does get done here, the event is primarily social. Indeed, most Houses avoid scheduling social events for a full week following the Guildsmeet, to allow newly introduced nobles and guildsmen to invite one another to dinners and other engagements after having met at the ball.

[edit] Month of Kythorn

  • Trolltide (Kythorn 1st): Civic. Begun as a feasting day to celebrate the ending of the decade-long Second Trollwar, Trolltide is now a lesser holiday to the city at the start of Kythorn. Where once everyone was relieved of responsibilities beyond celebrating the freedom and survival of the city, now this holiday is almost exclusively for children. In recognition of how close the enemy came to the city, children now run through the streets in packs from highsun till dusk, pounding on the doors of shops and homes, growling and snarling like trolls; the occupants are expected to give the children candies, fruits, or other small items "to keep the trolls away from my door," and those who do not are generally subject to pranks upon sundown.
  • The Steel Revels (Kythorn 6th): Society. The Steel Revels are a celebration of the military ability possessed by the nobles of Waterdeep. Some Houses (particularly those whose financial interests lie in the direction of mercenary companies) field small units of skilled fighters who battle it out to first blood in exciting scenarios in the Fields of Triumph. A great deal of betting goes on before and during such events.
    • The end of the day sees the Highsteel Bouts, one-on-one conflicts between nobles with a good hand at the sword. These bouts are likewise to first blood, and are a favorite way among the nobility to see long-standing feuds be settled.
    • At the end of the day, those Houses who won the most notable victories (either individual or unit) host parties to allow their guests to congratulate them on their martial prowess.
  • Second Feast (Kythorn 20th; Summer Solstice): Mielikki. Holy rituals and revels where the faithful of Mielikki are expected to enjoy the sensual pleasures of life and sing praises to the Lady in the forest.
  • The Rite of Pain & Purity (Kythorn 20th; Summer Solstice): Loviatar. Rite in which clergy chant and dance on barbed wire, thorns, or broken glass, with senior clergy urging them on with whips and lay worshippers chanting and drumming. This sometimes causes a red mistlike radiance to rise from the dancing floor, and for the dancing clergy to receive messages from the Painmaiden.
  • The Ball of Blossoms (Kythorn 20th; Summer Solstice): Society. Organized by Houses Crommor, De'spri and Gost, with the aid of the Spires of Morning, the Ball of Blossoms opens the day as something of a fair and competition, with each participating House contributing a selection of fine flowers from their gardens to the grounds of the Spires. There, the High Radiance judges the arrangements, and a small prize is awarded to the House that wins.
    • That evening, the arrangements of flowers serve as the backdrop to a fine ball held in the Great Hall of the Spires temple, and the nobles turn out in their finest white, gold, rose and violet garments to celebrate the height of the growing season and the gifts of Lathender to Waterdeep.
  • Brightbuckle (Kythorn 21st): Waukeen. A parade of the faithful around the city, inviting everyone to don their best and join the parade, which ends at a space with a massive feast, where inspirational talks and reminders of the growing prosperity of the land are given, along with illusions showing the recent works of Waukeen. Those not of the faith are welcome, but likely to be targeted with conversion attempts.
  • The Gathering of Quills (Kythorn 30th): Society. Established when the sponsors of the Gathering of Harps would not permit the addition of the written word to their roster of entertainment, the Gathering of Quills is sponsored by Houses Adarbrent, Estelmer, Ilzimmer, Moonstar, Thongolir and Wands, as well as by the Scriveners', Scribes', & Clerks' Guild, the Stationers' Guild and the Surveyors', Map & Chart-makers' Guild.
    • Though considered something of a dull affair by most noble standards, the Gathering of Quills attracts the finest writers, printers and bookbinders, and many nobles turn out simply to expand their libraries with both the recent fashionable works, and to hunt among the sellers of antiquities for old books, maps and other charts.
    • Though the Melshimbers have sought to become involved with the Gathering of Quills, they were snubbed and turned away in retaliation for what the organizers claimed were the slight of not supporting their desires to aid with the Gathering of Harps.

[edit] Month of Flamerule

  • Founders' Day (Flamerule 1st): Civic. Not really a practiced holiday, Founders' Day is noted on city calendars as the first day of Flamerule and commemorates the Free City of Waterdeep's founding. The Field of Triumph is the site of illusory shows of the history of the city as well as martial exhibitions by the guard and other noted warriors of the city. Many festhalls sponsor Founders' Day costume contests with prizes going to the best costumes of historical personages (from Warlord Raurlor to Khelben the Elder and others). Major illusions used to be established throughout Waterdeep, including making Castle Waterdeep look like the old log structure of Nimoar's Hold, but these were decried as too disruptive to traffic and commerce and have not been part of the Founders' Day celebrations for decades.
  • Founders' Day Viewing Parties (Flamerule 1st; Founders' Day): Society Some civic-minded nobles throw small "Founders' Day Viewing Parties" in the very stands of the Field of Triumph, using their influence and coin to lay claim to one of the viewing boxes and inviting important city officials and other nobles to the festivities they host there. It's considered an old-fashioned event, however, even if the alliances created and influence garnered with various city officials makes it worth it.
  • Sornyn (Flamerule 3rd - 5th): Waukeen. A time for planning, the making of treaties and agreements and receiving of envoys from unknown lands. Much wine is traditionally consumed during this time, when "my enemy is like a brother to me".
  • Sornyn Ball (Flamerule 5th; Sornyn): Society. The end of the Waukeenar festival around treaties and envoys, this ball is thrown by the Open Lord as a welcome to the new diplomats to the city, and a welcome back to those who've been here for years. It is an opportunity for the noble Houses to get to know the ambassadors, and they do so with gusto, seeking the best possible opportunities for their families (and the city, of course).
  • Theater Season (Flamerule 11th - 20th): Society. It is during this week that the myriad actors and performers unveil their latest works, hoping to earn an avid following among the nobles who expect the season's newest entertainments during this tenday. Theaters, festhalls, even courtyards in town all play host to bands of players. Among those who prefer to take their lovers from among actors and other players, this tenday is usually a time of excitement, courting and competitions among the nobles to be the one to win the affection of the popular new ingenue on the stage.

[edit] Midsummer (Festival)

Midsummer, called Midsummer Night or the Long Night, is a time of feasting and music and love. In a ceremony performed in some lands, unwed maidens are set free in the woods and “hunted” by their would-be suitors throughout the night. Betrothals are traditionally made upon this night. It is very rare indeed for the weather to be bad during the night—such is considered a very bad omen, usually thought to foretell famine or plague.

  • Midsummer Ball: Society. The Midsummer Ball is an all-night affair that starts at dawn of Midsummer eve, and lasts until the dawn of the following day. This event is thrown in the Heroes' Garden, the Sea Ward park, and features an elevated dance floor, dozens of elaborate pavilions (sponsored by various Houses) with plenty of delicacies and ever-flowing drinks and music aplenty.
    • It is an evening originally intended to permit the sons and daughters of the nobility to meet one another under less-supervised circumstances, to dance and drink and flirt freely within the bounds of the outdoor Ball. In recent days, this has taken on a slightly more lascivious nature, where even those who aren't looking for a consort might take a fancy to someone they meet at the ball and spend some intimate time drinking and dancing with them.
  • Heroes' Chant: Akadi. Those of the faithful who are able to do so travel to the Shaar, to be in the ruins of Blaskaltar, the first known shrine of Akadi. There, they chant the names of the heroes of the faith and add more such names when it is needful. Those who cannot do so often attend local shrines or outdoor sites where the clergy of Akadi (or a leader among the lay worshippers) perform a local version of the chant.
  • Misfortune's Revel: Beshaba. Devotees of the Maid of Misfortune spend this day (and Shieldmeet as well, on years when it occurs) running in wild revels of destruction and rudeness to mark their goddess' nature. The faithful form small posses of (frequently masked) revelers who run wild through the streets of Waterdeep. It is not uncommon for those who don't truly worship the goddess, but simply enjoy the riotous worship to join in. This is fine with the faithful, as it simply adds to their goddess' power. Midsummer nights, the Watch are always careful to watch masked groups carefully, particularly if they display the holy symbol of Beshaba.
  • Song of Dawn: Lathander. Praise-song that blends purely vocal harmonies and counter-harmonies of incredible complexity. Can be heard for blocks around echoing through the Spires of Morning.
  • The Wild Ride: Mielikki, Lurue. The Lady causes herds of unicorns to gather in forests and permit the faithful to ride them bareback on wild tears through the forest through the night. The unicorns are empowered to use their teleport powers at unlimited use and triple range, allowing them to travel great distances. On days where Shieldmeet follows Midsummer, the Wild Ride may continue through that day.
  • The Grand Revel: Milil. A grand festival involving a feast, dancing, singing, and very boisterous celebration of all music - including the singing of parodies of well-known favorites, and the introduction of entirely new music.
  • Midsummer Night: Sune. Sunite temples organize all-night revels that feature flirtatious chases through forests and parks.
  • Luckfeast: Tymora. A long night of free-wheeling revelry, filled with mischief and romantic trysts.
  • The Silver Sails: The Elven Retreat. At dusk on Midsummer eve, silver-sailed ships of a pale white wood come into the harbor of Waterdeep, sailed by elves in robes the color of mist, and lit by strange faerie lights. They remain at the docks accorded to their use the night through, welcoming those elves who would undertake the Retreat, and in the grey hours just before dawn, they set out once more, going into the west and carrying the elven people out of Faerun.

[edit] Shieldmeet (Once every 4 years)

This day is part of no month, and follows Midsummer Night. It is known as the Shieldmeet. It is a day of open council between nobles and people; a day for the making and renewing of pacts, oaths, and agreements; tournaments, tests and trials for those wishing to advance in battle fame or clerical standing; for entertainment of all types, particularly theatrical; and for dueling.

  • Shieldmeet Years: 1480, 1484, 1488, 1492, 1496, 1500 DR.
  • Shieldmeet Ball: Society. Every Shieldmeet, the Open Lord throws a grand ball for Waterdeep, with the interiors of the Palace laid open for nobles and the wealthy, and a grand festival air in the courtyard in front of the palace. Room within is limited, and the guests within are always influential and important, so the jockeying to achieve a place within is intense.
  • Ceremony of Honor to Helm: Helm. A high holy ritual thanking Helm for his unceasing vigilance.
  • The Gilding: Deneir. A high holy day of the Deneiran church, wherein copies of old contracts are taken out for public viewing, and anyone may ask to see a copy of any nonmagical writing in any temple of Deneir to which she or he can travel. Such records and writings must be specifically requested, and must not violate the vows of confidentiality of the temple. This day culminates in the Guilding, in which priests gather in a circle around a levitated manuscript and use special spells only granted on Shieldmeet which impresses the manuscript with golden letters, used to write the Words of Deneir onto the document, which is then displayed for a full tenday afterward before being archived with the previous manuscripts.
  • Conjuring of the Second Moon: Selûne. A rite that summons celestial servants of Selûne, who arrive to do good deeds or fight the enemies of the temple. These servants, called Shards, always take one female worshipper, laity or clergy, to become one of them when they depart.

[edit] Month of Eleasias

  • Divine Pageantry (early Eleasias): Siamoprhe, Society. Another event considered hopelessly old-fashioned by young, fashionable nobles, it is the only holy festival to Siamorphe, the goddess of nobility considered the patron of all Waterdhavian nobles. As such, no matter how de rigeur it is, the wise patron or matron of House ensures everyone in their family is there to take part, dressed in fine antique garments, spreading coin and remembering the proper old fashioned forms of address.
    • Many young nobles (and not a few elders) spend the weeks before the Pageantry going over the hoary old documents that detail every proper title, honorific and form of address for everyone they are likely to meet on that day. A gaffe in these stilted forms of address is not just a social blunder, but an act of blasphemy against the goddess of nobility.
  • Ahghairon's Day (1st): Civic. Ahghairon's Day commemorates the life of Ahghairon, the first Open Lord, and is celebrated on the day after Midsummer's Night (the first day of Eleasias) in honor of the Old Mage's birth date. Citizens often leave violets (Ahghairon's favorite flower) at the base of his old tower, the Plinth, or on the altars in the House of Wonder, Mystra's temple where he worshiped. While not a practice before Lhestyn's lifetime, Lhestyn's tradition of visiting taverns and inns throughout the city to wish the people well is continued by Piergeiron, the current Open Lord and most visible agent of Ahghairon's rule. While not a holiday that affects the city's operation (aside from closing the Lord's Court), it is honored in small ways, with many toasts to the Lords of the city in tavern talk, and bards performing some of the locally written songs in honor of the much-loved Old Mage.
  • The Promenade of Violets (Eleasias 1st, Ahghairon's Day): Society. A grand masquerade ball thrown by the House of Wonder in honor of one of the founders of Waterdeep, and the first of the Open Lords, the Promenade is held at the House of Wonder, the temple to Mystra, but organized and arranged by a small council of nobles chosen by the Temple Magister. This honor is usually bestowed on those families with some ties to wizardry themselves (meaning the Eltorchuls, Thunderstaves, and Wands families dominate), along with the head of the Magists' and Protectors Order, Mhair Szeltune. The ball is eagerly anticipated for its unprecedented spectacle, thanks to the magical talents of those who organize it.
  • The Harbor Spectacles (Eleasias 8th): Society. At the height of summer, the nobility take to the waters. Various Houses fund massive party-boats, opulently decorated and provisioned, to invite guests onto. Usually built onto large barges, they often feature multiple decks of hedonistic entertainments.
    • These boats are launched with guests aboard, and are all arranged in a line so as to provide ample viewing opportunities to the slim five-man racing boats fielded by the various Houses. A purse of no small wealth is always offered the winner, and a great deal of betting goes on.
    • After the races, the true revels begin. The harbor becomes swarming with small ferry-boats going from party-boat to party-boat, allowing nobles to move from party to party, enjoying the variety. Of course, more betting goes on during this time as well, generally based on who the next drunk noble will be that manages to stumble and tip himself (and possibly his entire ferry-boat) into the cold waters of the harbor. Merfolk members of the Watch are usually in close patrol during these events, as are ten-man Watch boats.
  • Birth of the Eternal Fire (Eleasias 9th): Kossuth. The igniting of the Kossuthan shrine's Eternal Fire is celebrated on this day, involving a progression of the flame through the streets of Waterdeep, staring at the Plinth, and eventually returning to it. It has become tradition for the owners of buildings to cast one coin for each building they own into the great fire as it passes, praying for protection from fire for that year.
  • Huldark (Eleasias 17th): Waukeen. A feast in which the bounty of the land is celebrated, and the faithful of Waukeen plant new trees or gardens.
  • The Annual Garden Parties (Eleasias 17th): Society. Originating as Waukeenar Huldark celebrations, the annual garden parties of the Sea and North Ward are (like many things involving the nobles of Waterdeep) a fierce competition.
    • For months, noble families work to see that their gardens are the finest possible works of art. On the day of the party, each of the Houses involved throws a massive garden party, seeking to show off their gardens in the best possible light while also demonstrating the support of their peers.
    • A trio of judges travels from party to party, technically judging the quality of the garden, but also partaking of the merriment. These are usually personages of note, including clergy of the nature gods, previous years' winners and even Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun (a noted gardener in his own right) once or twice in the past.
    • By nightfall, a winner has been decided, and runners are dispatched to announce the victor at each of the ongoing parties, which usually results in a flood of guests abandoning the parties of losing Houses to essentially invade the party of the victors.
  • The Gathering of Harps (Eleasias 24th - 28th): Society. An undertaking by several Houses concerned with music (notably Houses Crommor, Estelmer, Majarra, Melshimber and Thann), as well as the Council of Musiciant, Instrument Makers and Choristers, the Gathering is held at the Field of Triumph. It is a day full of entertainment and enjoyment, with merry-makers and performers of all kinds turning out to demonstrate their talents.
    • At night, the sponsoring Houses throw a party, one each night of the Gathering, where the nobility take in the finest of the musicians and performers from the Gathering. These evenings often see a great many tap rooms and festhalls filled as well, for those musicians who don't quite make the cut to be invited to perform for the nobility can always find a place in one of the many public nightspots of Waterdeep.

[edit] Month of Eleint

  • Spryndalstar (Eleint 7th): Waukeen. A celebration of the enrichment that magic has brought to folk. Mages are invited to speak and demonstrate their talents, and young mages are often sponsored in their endeavors.
  • The Matrons' Diversion (Eleint 10th): Society. Over three generations ago, the Matron of House Melshimber invited the matrons of every other House that was led by a woman for a "genteel afternoon of cards and idle conversation". The ladies showed up in their very best, each with permission to bring along a daughter or niece, for what has become the foremost gathering time for the noble ladies of Waterdhavian society. Matrons take turns hosting these events, and there is tremendous pressure to successfully throw a successful event.
    • It is worth noting that a few of the Patrons of various noble Houses have idly discussed holding their own functions, but nothing on the level of the Matrons' Diversion has ever come of it.
  • The Penultimate Thunder (Eleint 11th): Hoar the Doombringer. Great feasts to game, bread, fruits, and mead, marking the long-anticipated victory over Ramman by the Lord of Three Thunders.
  • Song of Dawn (Eleint 21st; Autumn Equinox): Lathander. Praise-song that blends purely vocal harmonies and counter-harmonies of incredible complexity. Can be heard for blocks around echoing through the Spires of Morning.
  • The Rite of Pain & Purity (Eleint 21st; Autumn Equinox): Loviatar. Rite in which clergy chant and dance on barbed wire, thorns, or broken glass, with senior clergy urging them on with whips and lay worshippers chanting and drumming. This sometimes causes a red mistlike radiance to rise from the dancing floor, and for the dancing clergy to receive messages from the Painmaiden.
  • Third Feast (Eleint 21st; Autumn Equinox): Mielikki. Holy rituals and revels where the faithful of Mielikki are expected to enjoy the sensual pleasures of life and sing praises to the Lady in the forest.
  • The Pankration (Eleint 22nd): Another sporting event at the Fields of Triumph, the Pankration is made up of wrestling- and boxing-matches. Each House is expected to sponsor at least one athlete to engage in these bouts, and there is a specialized category of competition for those nobles who actually deign to enter the bouts themselves.
    • The wrestling is done Lathandran style, nude or nearly so and doused in temple-blessed oils, while the boxing is bare-knuckle and fought until one surrenders or simply can rise no more.
    • Multiple rings are set up in the Field itself, with space between them allowing observers to come down to watch any one of several simultaneous matches up close.
    • At about dusk, the Fields clear out, with nobles returning to clean up and change their clothes, while workers clear out and decorate the Fields. Once full night has settled in, great torches are lit atop the walls of the Fields of Triumph, and a party is thrown within.

[edit] High Harvesttide (Festival)

Higharvestide heralds the coming of fall and the harvest. It is a feast that often continues for the length of the harvest, so that there is always food for those coming in from the fields. There is much traveling about on the heels of the feast, as merchants, court emissaries, and pilgrims make speed ere the worst of the mud arrives and the rain freezes in the snow.

  • Harvesttide Hunts: Society. Often occupying several days on either side of this high festival, Waterdhavian nobles have taken to organize hunting retreats from the city (which is dreadfully hot around this time of year).
    • A few families with hunting lodges and the proper accommodations within a day or so of Waterdeep organize extended hunting excursions and invite their guests along. Though wardens and other servants tend to do the majority of the actual hunting, there is usually a prize prey of some sort (usually a stag or boar) that is hunted. The rest of the undertaking is generally an extended bout of drinking, eating, courting and the other merriments available to the nobility in the countryside.
  • Day of Wonders: Gond. A festival for Gond anticipated each year around Higharvestide for the imaginative inventions of the Gondsmen that are revealed on this day.
  • High Prayers of the Harvest: Chauntea. Solemn prayer vigils are held as the harvests are brought in to celebrate the bounty of Chauntea. Though these are held on the last day of the harvest in actual agricultural communities, they are often celebrated in Waterdeep on the day of High Harvesttide proper.
  • The Feast of the Stags: Malar. Malarite clergy parade through settled areas bearing the heads of beasts they've killed in the last tenday, and lead all who desire to eat to a feast of those beasts. This is usually a two-day orgy of gluttony, and all folk (even druids!) may attend, protected by the "Peace of the Table." At this feast, the clergy of Malar vow to hunt through the winter to feed chosen widows, aged folk, infirm and orphans.

[edit] Month of Marpenoth

  • Marthoon (Marpenoth 1st): Waukeen. Recognition of the vigilance and work of soldiers and guards to defend the wealth and security of the folk. Such folk are feasted and given gifts of gold. Each temple sponsors the retirement of one lucky soldier or guard by providing him or her 10 times his or her weight in common coin and a steading to enjoy it on.
  • The Raising of the Guard (Marpenoth 11th): Society. An annual military exhibition in the Field of Triumph organized by Lord Piergeiron's offices, the Raising of the Guard celebrates the founding of the Guard and Watch in Waterdeep.
    • After the midday exhibition, a grand ball is held in Piergeiron's Palace, where snappily-dressed men and women in uniform mingle with the nobility and other important personages. Many jaded nobles like to think of this as a good time to take a soldier for an evening's bed companion, and more than a few soldiers have leveraged the contacts they made at such events into more lucrative careers with the Houses of Waterdeep.
  • The Impending Doom (Marpenoth 11th): Hoar the Doombringer. Daylong ceremonies of rumbling drums, vigorous oaths, and exhausting acts of purification, celebrating justices yet to be meted out, revenges yet to be carried through with, and good deeds that call the celebrants to be remembered.
  • Starfall (Marpenoth 22nd): Tymora. A celebration of new and lucky beginnings, believed to mark the death of the old goddess Tyche, and the birth of Tymora. Clergy who have earned advancements and acclaim receive them this time of year, and all clergy are given new vestments.
  • The Autumn Trousseau Festival (Marpenoth 23rd - 27th): Society. A festival dedicated to a series of parties that focus on the newest fashions for autumn and winter, and all culminate in exhibitions of the garment work of the finest artists of the Most Excellent Order of Weavers & Dyers, the Order of Master Tailors, Glovers & Mercers, and the Solemn Order of Recognized Furriers & Woolmen.
    • These shows are organized by noble patrons to highlight the work of one given tailors or group thereof, to both show off the nobles' good taste and to possibly garner additional regard for that artist's work.

[edit] Month of Uktar

  • The Five Feathers Event (Uktar 9th - 12th): Society. A four-day fair and sporting event in the Fields of Triumph, the Five Feathers hosts a handful of events such as archery buttes, hawking competitions and equestrian events. A great deal of betting goes on, and (as usual) the Houses are in fierce competition with one another to win the medals awarded the victors. During the days, athletics events occur, while at night, free-for-all parties fill the Fields of Triumph.
  • Tehennteahan (Uktar 10th): Waukeen. Also called the Night of Hammers and Nails, in which the inventions of simple craftsmen and their work are celebrated. New innovations are demonstrated, shops are shut to allow the craftsmen time to enjoy the festival, and one lucky innovator has the rights to his works purchased for the price of a single room in his dwelling filled with gold.

[edit] Feast of the Moon (Festival)

The Feast of the Moon is the last great festival of the year. It marks the arrival of winter, and is also the day when the dead are honored. Graves are blessed, the Ritual of Remembrance performed, and tales of the doing of those now gone are told far into the night. Much is said of heroes and treasure and lost cities underground.

  • The Remembrance Revel: Society. Marking the end of the official Waterdhavian season, the Remembrance Revel begins with visits to the City of the Dead in the later part of the day, visiting House crypts and paying respects. In some ways, because so many nobles depart Waterdeep for the winter right after this event, it is a time to say goodbye to one's dearly departed, seeing them one last time until the following year.
    • As night falls, the normal curfew on the City of the Dead is lifted for one single night, and the nobility of the city host a grand masquerade revel, with laughter, song, dance and plenty of drink. The following day, most of those nobles who will be departing the city begin making their arrangements to do so; indeed, many of its most important members depart on ships or caravans the next day, leaving servants and less-important members of the House to close up the family's villa and operations for the winter.
  • Recounting of Splendors: Bhaal. A time when the faithful gather to hear the priests recount important or simply impressive tales of murder, and when the faithful remember the murdered of the previous year as worthy sacrifices to Bhaal (no matter who killed them).
  • The Dance with the Unicorns: Lurue. A quiet ceremony marking the onset of winter and serving as a time for remembering those who have passed away and now "dance with the unicorns." Many great works of art and epic song are unveiled during the Feast of the Moon to quiet applause, and when these gatherings are held in woodland areas, it is not uncommon for unicorns to approach the edges of the gatherings, there to comfort those who mourn those they lost that year.
  • The Day the Dead Are Most With Us: Myrkul. A celebration of the dead in chant, prayer, and hymn, with the midnight Flagons of the Fallen, wherein glasses of wine are set alight by spells so that the spirits who drink of them can be warmed for a few moments in their "eternal chill".
  • The Vision: Savras. Twenty-four hours of meditation, sometimes even in specialized environments (saunas, steam rooms, rooms filled with heady incense, beneath cold waterfalls, etc). Those who last the entire time are rewarded with a vision from Savras.
  • Rising of the Dark: Shar. A secret ritual in which Sharites gather under cover of other Feast of the Moon celebrations to witness a blood sacrifice and learn of any plots or aims the clergy want them to work toward in the year ahead.
  • Praise of the Valorous Dead: Tempus. A great time of solemnity in which the Valorous Dead - a roll of those who have fallen in battle that year - are added to the ever-growing list kept of such by each temple.

[edit] Month of Nightal

  • Auril's Blesstide (varies): Auril, Civil. Similar to the Fair Seas Festival below, this holiday is celebrated more as a case of prevention rather than true celebration, designed to protect Waterdeep from the ill will of Auril the Frostmaiden, goddess of winter. On no set day, Auril's Blesstide is proclaimed upon the dawn of the first frost, a squad of griffon-riders flying low over the city blowing distinctive horns that proclaim it Auril's Day; on this day, every one in the city wears primarily white clothes and no one eats or serves hot meals, in deference to the goddess of cold. In the past century, a disrespectful lark by some unclothed and besotted young nobles has become a traditional part of the Auril's Day ceremonies; a parade of white-cloaked men and women literally runs from the Cliffwatch in North Ward across the city, through the West Gate and out onto the western beaches. From there, the participants (mostly young nobles or merchants) leap into the icy waters of the Sea of Swords clad only in light white tunics (if clad at all) in order to "gain the respect of Auril and sacrifice our warmth to stay the worst of her icy wrath in the coming winter."
  • Fourth Feast (Nightal 20th; Winter Solstice): Mielikki. Holy rituals and revels where the faithful of Mielikki are expected to enjoy the sensual pleasures of life and sing praises to the Lady in the forest.
  • The Rite of Pain & Purity (Nightal 20th; Winter Solstice): Loviatar. Rite in which clergy chant and dance on barbed wire, thorns, or broken glass, with senior clergy urging them on with whips and lay worshippers chanting and drumming. This sometimes causes a red mistlike radiance to rise from the dancing floor, and for the dancing clergy to receive messages from the Painmaiden.
  • Orbar (Nightal 25th): Waukeen. A remembrance for the dark side of wealth, in which prayers are said for those driven mad by their miserliness, those slain by thieves and brigands, and those who died trying to acquire coin (legally or otherwise). The public is invited to a Candle Feast wherein well-loved deceased merchants are remembered with praise, and the church reminds those in the community that it has the power to trace and hunt down thieves who steal the wealth of those that worship Waukeen - and it will use it.
  • Night of Another Year (Nightal 30th): Jergal. The priests of Jergal gather with the faithful to read through the scrolls of the names of all who have died that year. With a cry of "One Year Closer!", all the scrolls are burned, and work begins anew.
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